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Just dropping by ... Songs of patriotism

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 01 July 2019

It seems there is a concerted effort today to destroy American heritage. Statues of bygone days are being torn down, mottos are being erased, and values are being demolished. The rights of the offended take precedence over time-worn traditions.

Schools of today spend more time teaching political correctness and cultural diversity than they do teaching about our own country’s history. Of course, it is under the guise of: “With the focus on standards, there is not enough time to teach songs of our heritage.”

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There is certainly danger in this practice. Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

As we destroy our heritage, we dismantle our Christian values. Christianity and freedom go hand in hand. God intended for His children to be free to worship Him as they desired. He never intended any of His children to be chained as slaves, whether it be literal chains or mental chains. He intended mothers and fathers to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of religion. Christianity when applied as a way of life engenders compassion, human dignity and hope for personal growth for both male and female.

When I was growing up, we stood not only to salute the flag, but we spent time learning patriotic songs. These songs engendered a deep feeling of love for my country. We sang the songs in church and around the campfire. We didn’t get freaked out over issues of church and state. To us, America was America, with no fences between church, home and ethnic background. The songs lifted your spirits and gave you hope. Even reading these songs as poem, there is an indelible pride that enters the heart.

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!

God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

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As I sing that verse, my mind takes a journey across America, and I can see the grandeur and splendor of God’s mercy in creating such beauty.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

A lesson in history emerges from this verse. Thoughtful teachers could draw a vocabulary lesson, a lesson in mistakes we have made as a country and our divine mandate to preserve freedom under the Constitution and her laws.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

Another history lesson arises from this verse. It tells of selfless soldiers whose bodies were strewn across the world to procure and preserve our freedoms and includes a prayer to God to make our priorities noble and divine. That is the America I know and love.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

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This verse bears witness to the divinity of God and His hand in building this great land through the hallowed dreams of patriotic heroes and heroines who sacrificed to make America a land of dreams, freedom and brotherhood.

My Country Tis of Thee

My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim’s pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

***

Our father’s God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

This song of praise for America lifts the spirit to glorify God as the author of our freedom and enshrines the Pilgrims who left tyranny to face untold hardships to establish a place of refuge and freedom. Religious freedom was their quest. Ironically, religion is being attacked on all sides today because religious freedom is a tower of strength against the enemy of human liberty. Right-thinking men and women will always seek and obtain power in the Savior.

The Star-Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see,
by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d,
were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night
that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled
banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen
thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host
in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze,
o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals,
half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam
of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected,
now shines on the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner:
O, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!
And where is that band
who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war
and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country
should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out
their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save
the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight
or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner
in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave.
O, thus be it ever
when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes
and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace,
may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made
and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must,
when our cause is just,
And this be our motto:
“In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner
in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!

This hymn of praise was chosen to be our national anthem to help us remember the principles that govern a free people. Liberty is bought with a price in blood and property. How long will we have that freedom? That question penned by Francis Scott Key on Sept. 14, 1814, still rings with uncertainty. We have many haughty hosts who are foes fighting to destroy our rights and values. Free men and women of valor, who are willing to make the sacrifice, are the only defense between freedom and tyranny. They believe that “In God We Trust” should not only be on every coin and every dollar bill, but it should be heralded as a personal motto. It should be written in our hearts and always before our eyes so we will remain the land of the free and home of the brave.

We cannot forget these songs; they are the life’s blood of patriotism. John Adams said, “Freedom once lost is lost forever.” If the schools are not teaching these songs, we must teach them in our homes. We must sing them around the campfire and in our churches. Remember, our children will carry the flag and fan the flames of freedom for the future.  end mark

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